Freshman pacers ready for PASS, PA Stallion debuts
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The Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and its complementary Stallion Series program make their 2020 debuts on Wednesday and Thursday at Harrah’s Philadelphia, with over $600,000 to be on the line as 2-year-old pacers lead off the action – the fillies on Wednesday, and the colts and geldings on Thursday.
In Wednesday’s filly racing, three of the babies have already achieved sub-1:55 marks in qualifying action, including the pair drawing innermost in the race seven division. The Betting Line-Darena Hanover miss Darby Hanover won at the Meadowlands in 1:54, with a sizzling :26.2 last quarter; she’ll start from the rail for trainer Julie and driver Andy Miller. Right next to her will be the Always B Miki-Western Silk filly Grace Hill, who ships to Philly after a 1:54.4 win at the Toronto area’s Woodbine Mohawk Park. Dexter Dunn will handle the driving assignment behind her for trainer Mark Harder.
The other sub-1:55 filly, Blue Diamond Eyes, begins from the rail for trainer Ron Burke, who has no fewer than nine fillies in the four divisions of the Sires–three in this section and two in the others. Blue Diamond Eyes, a daughter of Captaintreacherous-Aria Hanover, came her last three-quarters in 1:23.3 when she won at the Meadowlands in 1:54.3. Yannick Gingras has the sulky assignment Wednesday.
Burke has “only” seven entrants in Thursday’s action for males, but he does have the fastest winner to date in the Sweet Lou-Lucy’s Pearl colt Lou’s Pearlman, who defeated his stablemate Fulsome (Betting Line-Triple V Hanover) by 1¾ lengths in a Gaitway qualifier in 1:54. The post position draw was not kind to the Burke Brigade duo – Lou’s Pearlman must start from the outside in the seventh race division field of seven, with Fulsome only one notch to his left on the starting gate.
The seventh race Sires cut may prove to be the toughest of the four sections for colts, as also in the field are Captains Place (Captaintreacherous-Dream Out Loud), winner of three straight qualifiers at Scioto Downs; Billy Clyde (Always B Miki-Jan It Jackson), perfect in two lines including a 1:55.4 win in a purse start at Pocono; and Crunch Hanover (Captaintreacherous-Code One Hanover), who won both his preps for this contest.
There will be four Sire Stakes and four Stallion Series races for the fillies on Wednesday; Thursday will have four Sires contests and six Stallion Series races.
The cream of the Pennsylvania breeding ranks are certainly represented in these first stakes of the season, with no fewer than 22 of the freshmen over the two days bringing $100,000 or more as a yearling last fall, in addition to several attractive homebreds.
Racing will start at Harrah’s Philadelphia at 12:25 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday. (Harrah's Philadelphia/PHHA)